Company: Forbes Media
Location: New York
Title: Chief brand officer
Big move: Former VP-marketing for Forbes.com steps into newly created post as the company moves to integrate Web and print properties.
Five-year plan: “If you have a five-year plan, you should throw it away.”
Publisher prepares to launch CMO channel
Bruce Rogers doesn't believe in 5-year plans. The man who in November became Forbes Media's first chief brand officer prefers to speak in terms of 90-day rollouts.
“The world is going to change in five years,” he said. “All you can do is create a framework in which you can react quickly to changes in the marketplace.”
Illustration of the need to adapt: The former VP-marketing once tasked with helping build Forbes.com into an independent force is now shepherding the Forbes Media brand through the reintegration of its Web and print properties.
“We've reoriented the company's mission,” Rogers said. “It's about the intellectual property of Forbes journalism. It's not about the platform in which we distribute it. I know that's a bit of a platitude but we're actually, truly trying to live that and make ourselves media neutral.”
He makes a case from an advertising perspective: “Only 7% of the RFPs on the print side [at Forbes over the past year] were print-only,” Rogers said. “The vast majority [of advertisers] was looking for some type of cross-platform, integrated solution.”
Forbes said in November that it would integrate the staffs of its flagship Forbes magazine and the company's Web-based properties, a move that created a Brand Intelligence Group focused on senior-level marketing executives.
Rogers will help manage that group, while also developing market research initiatives and CMO Network, an editorial intiative slated to debut in March.
The CMO Network will feature original articles, market research, events, education and video components.
“We want to be the pre-eminent destination for CMOs to come for information and resources about advertising,” Rogers said.
“We're in the business of selling advertising,” he added, “but we can't effectively do that unless we are a valuable source of information for the people we need to talk to.”
Forbes hasn't finalized how the market research and CMO Network content will be integrated into existing publications, but the content will extend beyond the centralized location on the Web. “There will be an enhanced focus on marketing coverage in the magazine with a strong connection to the CMO Network,” Rogers said.
The launch comes as CMOs work to stay abreast of a market transition that has put pressure on their ability to measure results—one of the catalysts for the surge of interest in digital marketing.
“We're in a cycle right now where digital media is viewed as a more accountable advertising source,” Rogers said. “Dollars are flowing to digital, and print has definitely been hurt by that. But there's a certain cyclicality here. We're trying to help people understand better their media allocations.”
Well-developed content will be key. “We have a brand name that gets our foot in any door,” he said. “What we need to do is make sure we bring something of value to them so they want to open the door again.” M